Sponsored by Banner Health
By Amy Peronace
Everyone knows that going for a yearly mammogram can be stressful. That stress is exacerbated when it is for a diagnostic study. Stress builds from the anticipation of when a symptom is detected, to the day of the appointment. Patients often come in anxiety ridden and nervous.
Now, imagine you are walking into a breast center of excellence where the radiologists are fellowship trained in breast imaging and the staff specializes in breast imaging. Imagine that office is also contracted with a medical vendor to train its staff and surgeons on the latest biopsy equipment. It eases a patient’s anxiety to know they will receive face-to-face contact with the radiologist to discuss their results at the time of the appointment. What happens when a biopsy is recommended? Would you look for a facility that can help you navigate through the biopsy procedure, help you coordinate continuing care and take the stress and burden off locating advanced medical care? Many women get their mammogram based on convenience, where their friends and family go or where their doctor sends them. A mammography center selection shouldn’t be based on just those criteria. A truly integrated breast center excels in what it can do for the patient regarding continuum of care, managing the patient’s results and coordination with labs, specialists and counselors.
This is all something we offer at Banner Imaging. We have designated Breast Centers of Excellence, complete with fellowship-trained radiologists, dedicated staff and Breast Cancer Navigators to help guide patients through what could be one of the most stressful times of their lives. We also have a Bard Center of Excellence in which our radiologist does case reviews and trains others on the latest biopsy equipment.
Since Banner Imaging is affiliated with Banner Hospitals and Banner MD Anderson, patients should be at ease knowing they have a fully integrated medical community at their fingertips for continuum of care. Along with this, we work very closely with multiple oncologists and surgeons throughout Arizona to deliver the most comprehensive and highest quality of care to our patients. Banner Imaging, along with a multitude of imaging centers and referring physicians, have installed a medical portal called Powershare which allows us to easily share patient images with their orthopedic, surgeon, oncologist, etc. It also lets us send and retrieve images with other medical centers to ensure complete care for our patients.
Our partnership with Banner MD Anderson led to implementing a Breast Cancer Navigator process. Once patients are referred to this program, they have complete access to genetic counseling, nutritionists, counselors, oncologists, surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, all to help guide them through this process. This process not only helps guide our patients but also helps referring physicians with ease of scheduling as well as getting the best care for their patients.
On the horizon
- Rad Path correlation: The communication and teamwork between a radiologist and their pathologist is critical in biopsy centers. Radiologist must trust and have a good working relationship with the pathologists interpreting the studies for their patients. Our partnering pathologist will begin hosting quarterly meetings with our breast imaging radiologist. This will give them to a chance to connect and discuss interesting cases and rare pathology. This strengthens that relationship and lets them discuss, in depth, outcomes affecting breast and thyroid biopsy patients.
- On Site Cytology interpretation: We are working closely with our pathologist to provide onsite interpretation to our thyroid biopsy and fine needle aspirations patients. With the use of a special microscope, the slides are sent directly to the pathologist remotely and he can determine if we have adequate sample size as well as diagnose the specimen immediately. This will result in immediate results for our providers and patients.
- Genetic Testing: Banner Imaging has partnered with Ambry Genetics and its high-risk program that screens for a patient’s breast cancer assessment risk and family history, identifies high-risk patients, and educates them about genetic testing prior to their imaging appointment with Banner. By identifying high-risk patients, we can refer patients to a network of specialists to ensure they get the proper screening or treatment. A positive patient’s family members can also be tested for free so it’s a great way to save other generations of the family.
As we continue to fight the cancer battle for those we love, there is some peace of mind knowing that programs, partnerships, counseling and teams of medical professionals are available and can be easily accessible from the first step toward fighting this battle – at a routine mammogram.
Amy Peronace is the director of women’s imaging at Banner Imaging in Phoenix, Arizona.